I hate spam. And as spam, I mean any unwanted email - from ads for Viagra to jokes with "FW: FW: FW:..." in the subject line.* I tend to click "DELETE" first thing before looking through my legitimate mail.
But last week, I happened to open this one from my parents:
A Holy man was having a conversation with the Lord one day and said, "Lord, I would like to know what Heaven and Hell are like."The Lord led the holy man to two doors.He opened one of the doors and the holy man looked in.In the middle of the room was a large round table.In the middle of the table was a large pot of stew, which smelled delicious and made the holy man's mouth water.The people sitting around the table were thin and sickly.They appeared to be famished. They were holding spoons with very long handles that were strapped to their arms and each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful.But because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their mouths.The holy man shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering.The Lord said, "You have seen Hell."They went to the next room and opened the door. It was exactly the same as the first one.There was the large round table with the large pot of stew which made the holy man's mouth water.The people were equipped with the same long-handled spoons, but here all the people were well-nourished and plump, laughing and talking.The holy man said, "I don't understand.""It is simple," said the Lord. "It requires but one skill."You see, they have learned to feed each other. The greedy think only of themselves."
It's a simple tale about working together for the common good of man framed in a religious context of a wise man speaking to God. And it makes me think of Republicans - the party most associated with Christian values - and their stance on entitlement and social programs which assist the poor and elderly.
They want to stand behind the "teachings" of the Bible when it comes to restricting other people (like in the case of marriage equality) but can't seem to remember the lessons Jesus taught about helping to take care of their fellow man (when it comes to issues like healthcare.)
Whenever I think of this, I'm reminded of one of my favorite scenes from Aaron Sorkin's "The West Wing" where President Bartlet confronts a Conservative talk show host:
What do you think, America?
Isn't it about time to stop hand-picking philosophies to follow that only benefit ourselves and start doing the right thing for everyone?
* A recent report from Symantec stated 90 percent of email is spam and causes a good portion of Internet bandwidth usage (i.e. slowdown.)